How do we strike the correct work life balance?
In the 19th century, the labour movement fought for and won the rights to an 8-8-8 balance. Eight hours each of work, rest and play. However, in the 21st century, for many of us this is impossible, or for others it is just what they do. What are the key elements in striking your own balance? And how do we know we need to readjust due to an imbalance?
With the advancements of technology we now have access to smart phones, laptops and tablets 24/7. This creates flexibility in the workplace so we now can work just about any where in the world at any time. The upside of this is it gives us the ability to manage our time to suit our home life but we have to be careful to manage the boundaries. We need to know when to shut down the computer and engage with family and friends and pursue our passions outside work. Many people who are constantly attached to their jobs deal with symptoms of stress or burnout and the impact these have on sleep.
I remember when David was working in the public hospital system with long hours, dealing with a lack of resources and frequent on-call duties. His health was affected, in particular his stress levels were dangerously high. When this starting overflowing to home we knew we needed to address the imbalance. We hatched a plan and changed David’s work circumstances, to turn the work life imbalance around before it had significant a impact on his health.
Circumstances like this usually develop gradually, as it did in David’s case, over a number of years. We can be too distracted or busy in our day to day lives to stop and assess work life balance on a regular basis and only change things when they come to a head or crisis.
What can be done?
Achieving a healthy work life balance requires managing both your professional and personal life in a sustainable way. This way we can keep our minds and bodies as healthy as we can. If we look at our Wellness Wheel we need to pay attention to all of the following aspects: occupational, spirituality, community, intellectual stimulation, environmental, physical and social.
Some tips to maintain a healthy work life balance:
- Plan your week. We recommend setting aside time every Sunday to plan the week ahead. Make sure your week is well rounded and encompasses all areas of wellness, incorporating some nurturing activities.
- Look after your health and your relationships they are both very important.
- Know your priorities and have a vision as this will help you plan easier. Some weeks time with friends will over ride a session at the gym or getting a jump-start on that next project at work.
- Having priorities will help you set long and short term goals, which will drive your weekly activities.
- Set yourself boundaries both at work and at home. Make sure colleagues and loved ones know your boundaries and stick to them. Do not be swayed to stay at work to do ‘one more thing’.
- Try and leave work at work. Don’t bring work home or if you work from home like me, work only during your set hours.
- Be aware when your balance is beginning to shift and ask for help needed.
Remember what works for one person (or family) wont work for all of us. It is a matter of trial and error, seeing what works and noting how we are feeling with our ‘equation’. It will vary from week to week and it’s a matter of planning each week ensuring all the elements of work and life are in balance each week.
Need more information about how you can sleep better?
At Sleephub we understand the struggle people endure with sleeping problems which is why we have created a comprehensive FAQs page with information for those seeking information about sleep disorders and potential solutions.